James D. Bell, 2018
“Bret, get your things together. I think I’m onto the next big story. Maybe the biggest yet.”
“Whoa. You’ve got my attention. I can’t argue with your nose for news after what we experienced with your last big story. Where are we going?”
“Great. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Philly cheese steaks.”
“Not that Philadelphia. The one in Mississippi.”
“Really? Okay, the Choctaw Indian Reservation, the Silver Star, the Golden Moon, Williams Brothers Grocery, the Giant House Party.”
“Do you know something about every place?”
“Every place I like.”
“What are you talking about, the Giant House Party and Williams Brothers Grocery? What is that?”
“You know, the Neshoba County Fair and Olivia Manning.”
“Never mind. You either get it or you don’t.”
“Oh, no you don’t. I am a professional reporter. Don’t talk to me that way. Philadelphia must be where that girl is from, the one you’re talking about all the time.” Bret laughed. “You have good instincts. How can the next big story be in Mississippi, again? Does this have something to do with that lawyer you have the hots for?”
“Yes. No. I don’t have the hots for him, and yes he just might be involved.”
“Okay, fine, but you better clear this upstream, because, I like my job. I also like my paycheck. If somebody gets the idea that your hormones are overruling your journalistic instinct, then we’ll both go down.”
“Bret. Don’t talk that way.”
“What? I’m just saying. Anyway, I hope you can work it out, because there is a girl I would like to see.”
“Claire says she has something for us at the library. She can’t contain herself and wants us to come tonight,” said Karen
“I’m beat. Can we see it tomorrow?” asked John as he steered the Trooper onto Highway 16. Clouds blotted out the stars, and the night seemed darker than black.
“Claire will be really disappointed,” continued Karen. “And, she said that what she has for us is of extreme importance. She wouldn’t want word to leak out about what we have found.”
“Why would it leak?” asked Jackson.
“Well, we do have a team of researchers who are librarians. Professionally, they are not much on censorship and keeping secrets,” Karen explained.
“Yeah, I suppose they are into disseminating knowledge, not concealing it,” agreed Jackson.
“So, the two of you think we should go tonight?” asked John.
“Why not? Well, other than you’re tired, why not?” asked Karen.
John took a long look at Karen, smiled and said, “Sure. Why not?”
He didn’t pay much attention to the pickup passing him on the two-lane road.
“Don’t let them get away!” yelled Brad. “I thought you said your deputy buddy would have pulled them over by now?”
“He’s running late,” responded Wes.
“They’ll be out of the county before he gets here. Run them off the road!”
“You heard me, run them off the road. Maybe then Deputy Dolittle can catch up with them.”
Wes swallowed hard and began his pass. He saw that the driver was looking at one of the passengers, not paying much attention to him as he passed.
“How am I going to run him off the road if he isn’t even looking at me?”
“Give me that wheel!” yelled Brad as he grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and jerked the pickup to the right.
“What are you doing!” screamed Wes as the right side of his pickup smashed into the front left side of the Trooper.
“What the…?” exclaimed John as he jerked the wheel to the right.
Jackson yelled, “Look out!”
The Trooper careened off the road, across a ditch and slammed into a tree.